Adoration 4 Adventure’s recommendations for 4 great getaways from Barcelona, Spain.
The words “getaway” and “Barcelona” don’t sound like they belong in the same sentence. Why would anyone want to getaway from Barcelona? Believe me, I am with you on that. I’m crazy about this city and am not shy to show it (it’s my favorite European city and in my top 5 of the world). So much so that I spent almost a month based here. And what a month it was!
Barcelona is easily worth a month (or more) of your time. However, it is still nice to get out of the city and explore other surrounding areas. The public transport system is easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Within just few hours you could find yourself in a totally different region or country.
Here are my recommendations for great getaways from Barcelona.
Montserrat (1 day)
Montserrat is the most well-known day trip from Barcelona. The monastery is just over an hour out of the city and easily accessible by a combination of train and rail or train and cable car. Alternatively if you have a car, you can drive. There are many ticket options available on the website and it can be confusing. My friends and I bought our train and rail passes from the ticket office at Plaza Espana.
Once you arrive, there is no actual entrance fee unless you want to visit the Museum, Audiovisual Space, or take a ride on a funicular. Access to the grounds and the Basilica are free. Inside the church you can view the famed Our Lady of Montserrat statue.
There are also numerous hikes, which were my favorite part. Visit the tourist office to pick up a map so you can find views like these.
Girona (1-2 days)
I visited Girona as a day trip, however it could also be stretched into a lazy weekend. By train, it is 40 minutes from Barcelona Sants station and costs around €25 return. For photographers, this city is a dream with a mixture of cultures and architectures. A majority of the activities are free or less than €5 so it’s also a destination that suits budget-conscious travelers.
Here are some of the things you can do during your visit to Girona:
- Walk through the Jewish Quarter and visit Europe’s smallest plaza
- Visit the Santa Maria Cathedral and Arab Baths
- Explore the garden and church ruins
- Walk along the city wall and take photos of the incredible views
- Eat delicious ice cream from Rocambolesc (there is also a location in Barcelona)
- Visit the Cinema Museum.
Valencia (2-3 days)
I visited Valencia for 2 and a half days and absolutely loved it. It takes 4 hours by bus from Barcelona, so is not possible as a day trip but you wouldn’t want to spend less time here anyway. Life is meant to be enjoyed in Valencia and there is absolutely no rushing.
Valencia is in the region of Comunitat Valenciana with the official languages of Valencian and Castilian (Spanish). English is also widely spoken. As a different region with a different language, it is nice to see the contrast to Barcelona (located in the region of Catalonia with the language of Catalan). it is also a University city, so there are also many young international students.
Read my 2 day itinerary for Valencia, Spain.
Andorra la Vella (2-3 days)
Andorra is the sixth smallest nation in Europe, located between the borders of Spain and France, and close to the Pyrenees Mountains. From Barcelona, you can take a direct bus to the capital of Andorra la Vella in 3 hours.
Andorra la Vella is small but picturesque with a mountain backdrop. The city itself can be explored in a few hours and is probably not worth a day trip unless you are counting countries or looking to shop. The attached neighborhood of Escaldes-Engordany is like a giant outdoor outlet store.
Majority of visitors to Andorra come here for the skiing and stay up in the mountains. The other option for visitors to Andorra la Vella is one of their luxurious spas.
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